Thursday, 14 January 2010

True Crime

I've always been interested in no!...not committing crime..just reading about it.

I love authors like Patricia Cornwell, Ruth Rendell and Ian Rankin, to name but a few.  I also have another favourite author, Barbara Nadel, who I met a few years ago when I was living in Goreme.  She has been a regular visitor to Turkey for more than 20 years, and her novels are very similar in style to those of Ian Rankin, except they are set in Turkey, mostly in Istanbul and the central character is  Detective Inspector Ikmen.  She spends a great deal of time in Cappadocia and once wrote a novel set in the area, with characters based on local people.  We had a great deal of fun trying to work out who they were!

I've also had a lifelong interest in true crime.  The criminal mind fascinates me.  Years ago I thought about writing a book on the ciminal mind and how childhood experiences can influence the way some people turn to crime.

Many years ago I had a good friend who was the Head Librarian at New Scotland Yard.  We spent hours discussing various criminals, and she used to lend me lots of books, many of which had involved considerable research on her part, and for which she received mention in the "credits".  She also used to bring home transcripts of trials for me to read...the most shocking one being of the trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

I also saw all the original documentation relating to Jack the Ripper (I'm pretty certain that my friend wasn't really allowed to bring these documents home...because I had to sit up all night reading so that she could return them the following morning).  It was utterly fascinating, to see statements from witnesses, some who couldn't read or write, having to sign  with an "X".   So many authors have written about Jack the Ripper and so many have speculated about who he was, but no-one knows for certain.

Recently, in fact since May 2007, I have been following the case of Madeleine McCann who disappeared whilst on holiday with her family in Portugal.  The three year old Madeleine and her younger twin sıblings, were left alone in their apartment, whilst their parents and friends went out for dinner.

The parents have always insisted that she was abducted, but the Portuguese police thought otherwise. Former PJ inspector Goncalo Amaral who headed the investigation, insists that she died in the apartment and that her parents concealed the body.  He wrote a book about it and the parents of Madeleine have taken action against him.  They are suing him  for 1 million pounds for libel.

My personal feeling is that the parents may have lied, that they may have something to hide.  But I have tried to keep an open mind about it, and always base my opinions on actual known facts.  There have been lots of ridiculous theories on many forums discussing the case..but they don't interest me at all.  I'm only interested in the truth and the evidence...of which there is very little.

Today is Day 3 of the libel trial in Lisbon.  I've been following it avidly from Day 1, via reports on Twitter from Sky TV.   The trial is expected to end today, although the judgment may take longer.

It's a good job we've had rain here for a few days, because it has given me the perfect excuse to be glued to my laptop screen.  It's riveting stuff!


  1. Ah, so true crime is your secret vice?

    I am a mystery reader as well. We love Barbara Nadal!

    I discovered Nadal through a friend, and we've read several of her books - tho not all of course because it's so tough to find a good (read:ANY) English language bookstore here in Corfu.

    Currently I am re-reading a new book of old short stories by Agatha Christie.

    Even after all these years of reading her books, I am still in awe of her ability to write such a good, gripping little tale in such few words.

    RE: the McCann's... I still think the little girl was kidnapped.

    For sure whenever anything happens to a foreigner the police of that country often have a tendency to justify their own pre-conceptions of the morals, ethics and values of the visitor. This prejudice sometimes- I think- biases them against evidence.

    [I've been following that terrible murder in Italy of the college roommate by the other one, and I have to say, from the beginning the press created such a sensational story of bizarre depravity and evil, with no evidence but a great fictional storyline, I can't help but think that sometimes mistakes are made!]

    ah, enough blah blah... going to see the Sherlock Holmes movie tonight- perhaps a blog post tomorrow!

  2. I also think Barbara is brilliant Jes. She and I hit it off when we first met, not just because of my interest in crime, but because we both have backgrounds in the mental health field, so we had much in common. I was fortunate to have all her books at that time, all signed by her. I took them to England and lent them to my Aunt. My Aunt died just before Christmas 2008. By the time I arrived in England, her house had been cleared, no sign of my books. And naturally I didn't ask her daughters if they had come across them. It obviously didn't cross my mind then...but I thought about it later, and wish I still had them.

  3. I can't remember when and why I started to follow your lovely blog but after your last posting I know I am going to stay for a very long time. Thank you

  4. Johanna...what a lovely thing to say...and I'm very pleased to have you here xx

  5. These are some of my wifes favorite types of reading material. I will show her this post, perhaps she will be interested in your list of authors. She loves Ann Rule books.

  6. Mr H: I would suggest she tries some Barbara Nadel books...they're very good.

  7. I was completely wrapped up in the true story of The Changeling (the movie directed by Clint Eastwood starring Angelina Jolie). I was obsessed about and started researching everything. It was a fascinating case, but it was pretty draining experience.
    Perhaps I should put it up on my blog.

    Yes, I was wondering what you would make of the latest info reg. the McCann´s.

  8. If you ever write a book, Ayak. I would love to be one of the first to read it! :)

  9. That's the thing that people just can't seem to understand. The absolute WORST source of information is the media. To understand what's going on and get the truth, you have to have an inside source.

  10. Amag: Yes the Changeling was a fascinating film and I remember all the stuff you posted on a forum. Good idea for a blog post.

    Kaibee: I doubt I would ever write a book now Kaibee..the moment has passed I think xx

    @eloh: You've hit the nail firmly on the head. The media just want a story...they aren't too concerned about facts...just sensationalism. And as for the old-style investigative journalist..there just aren't any these days.


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